It's that time of the year again - Diwali. It brings a smile on the face of my little one. A week-long holiday with no homework. Top up it up with good food, fairy lights, candles, diyas and being spoiled rotten by grandparents. Pure bliss.
Apart from all this, there's been another constant in his last and only five years of existence - the smell and sound of crackers.
As a baby, we'd protect him from the sounds and noise and all the pollution.
But 2016 wasn't that easy.
Flanked with crackers and smiling relatives, he rushed outside for 'pataka' fun. I tried to stop him. But, who am I to complain. If he loves those loud, disturbing sounds, then so be it.
The nightmare literally descended the morning after the festival of lights.
I travelled to work in a cab around 6:30 am.
A few hours later, I wrote this on my Facebook:
"In the last one hour, I witnessed three instances of multiple vehicle collision, had a near death accident, some blood on road, zero visibility on DND, and multiple Instagram & FB posts on how much cool it is to burn crackers (profiles of good people, educated people). If you wanna kill urself, just gulp a portion of poison. Why subject us & the future generation to such torturous death."
A routine drive to work turned catastrophic. Visibility was nil. The air felt heavy, stuffy. Eyes stinging.
Now, I consider myself a normal and healthy adult. If the Delhi-NCR air was suffocating me, what was it doing to my child?
I read up, a lot - articles, data and insights. And I realised in the short span of an hour (when he burst the crackers), my little one inhaled smoke equivalent to over 100 cigarettes. I did not even start looking at the data of next 48-hours.
I was horrified. This had to stop. There was no doubt in my mind.
But it's difficult arguing with people who enjoy crackers.
I don't blame them. That's what they saw and learnt growing. Many have no idea how to celebrate the day with crackers.
“It's tradition,” they say.
I agree. It was a tradition, started by our ancestors somewhere down the line.
But there's more than enough evidence to prove, Gods Ram and Goddess Lakshmi (for whom we celebrate Diwali) didn't start it.
Diwali was deepavali (deepo ka tauhar) - the day an entire town lit up (with diyas) when Ram came back home. There was no gunpowder back then.
But when a higher authority like you, step up and help me out - I am beyond grateful.
Banning crackers in Delhi on Diwali has been the best thing ever.
This week, I hardly heard any cracker sounds or blasts. People take your orders seriously you know. You're like the matron of the country. You do the right by us and stand firm.
So, this Diwali, dear Supreme Court, I just have two words for you. Thank you.